Mechanisms of root reinforcement in soils: An experimental methodology using four-dimensional X-ray computed tomography and digital volume correlation

D. J. Bull (Lead / Corresponding author), J. A. Smethurst, I. Sinclair, F. Pierron, T. Roose, W. Powrie, A. G. Bengough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Vegetation on railway or highway slopes can improve slope stability through the generation of soil pore water suctions by plant transpiration and mechanical soil reinforcement by the roots. To incorporate the enhanced shearing resistance and stiffness of root-reinforced soils in stability calculations, it is necessary to understand and quantify its effectiveness. This requires integrated and sophisticated experimental and multi-scale modelling approaches to develop an understanding of the processes at different length scales, from individual root–soil interaction through to full soil-profile or slope scale. One of the challenges with multi-scale models is ensuring that they sufficiently closely represent real behaviour. This requires calibration against detailed high-quality and data-rich experiments. This study presents a novel experimental methodology, which combines in situ direct shear loading of a willow root-reinforced soil with X-ray computed tomography to capture the three-dimensional chronology of soil and root deformation within the shear zone. Digital volume correlation (DVC) analysis was applied.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190838
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Volume476
Issue number2237
Early online date20 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020

Keywords

  • Digital volume correlation
  • Direct shear
  • Root reinforcement
  • Slope stability
  • Soil science
  • X-ray computed tomography

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